Building A Strong And Prosperous North: Highlights Of Key Initiatives
Through the Northern Prosperity Plan, the Ontario Government is implementing a range of targeted initiatives to stimulate growth, create jobs and promote a better quality of life for Northern Ontario.
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is leading efforts to build prosperity in the North by investing $520 million this fiscal year in the North and in Ontario's mineral sector, an increase of nearly $100M over our budget last year.
Key Northern Prosperity Plan initiatives include:
- Refocusing the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) to support job creation and economic development while continuing vital investments in community infrastructure. Since October 2003, almost 1000 jobs have been created from NOHFC investments.
- Supporting the northern film and television industry: $1.5 million to the City of Sudbury to support the local animation industry (Chilly Beach) and $1 million dollar loan to support the making of the Shania Twain movie. These are jobs that attract and retain youth in the North.
- The proposed Grow Bonds Pilot Program to help small and medium-sized businesses in the North develop and expand by increasing the amount of capital available to them.
- Launching the GO North investor program to market Northern Ontario internationally and attract new business to the region.
- A dialogue with northerners, including visits to the North by all cabinet Ministers. Announcing the creation of four Northern Development Councils to provide a direct link from northern communities to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.
- A Northern Highways Program 2004-2005 allocation of over $256 million, an increase of $33 million over last year: the first two tenders have gone out for advanced contracts on the planned 20km, four-lane Highway 69 corridor south of Sudbury, another 10 km of four-laning on Highway 11 south of North Bay was recently opened, and a contract was recently awarded to construct a new two-lane alignment of Highway 11-17 (Shabaqua Highway) in Thunder Bay. Overall, through the Northern Highways Program 32 major rehabilitation contracts will be awarded across the North, involving the reconstruction/resurfacing of almost 360 km of pavement and rehabilitation or replacement of 14 bridges.
- Renewing the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission by protecting jobs, improving services, and helping it chart a course toward a viable future.
- Supporting the new Northern Ontario School of Medicine. More than 2200 applications have been received, leading to more doctors, better healthcare, and youth working in the North.
- Forging new partnerships with First Nations and Far North communities.
- Launching the Ontario Mineral Industry Cluster Council, which is working to foster a rising standard of living from Ontario's mineral industry and win more prosperity for communities.
- Investing $10.5 million to clean up former mining lands through Abandoned Mines Rehabilitation Program.
- Increasing Northern Ontario's emergency access by enabling Local Services Boards to arrange for 911 emergency access services.